It's common for aging parents or family members to sign a power of attorney agreement. These legal documents allow a trusted person (the "agent"), usually a close family member such as a child, grandchild, or sibling, to act upon the principal's behalf when the owner of the estate becomes incapacitated, most often due to age or illness. Unfortunately, there is great potential for powers of attorney to be abused. When an older person is facing incapacity, it's important to understand the risks and how to prevent financial abuse.
For many people in Florida, thinking about estate planning can cause mixed emotions. While planning for the disposition of one's estate after death is necessary, it can be uncomfortable to think about one's mortality. However, not all estate planning decisions will have an impact only after you should die.
Watching one's parents get older can be challenging, as many Floridians probably know. It can be especially difficult if they lose the ability to manage their own finances and legal matters on their own. One woman, whose mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, learned through first-hand experience what details need to be arranged before a parent loses the ability to make decisions for him or herself.
Many parents worry about their children. They may worry that their children will not make smart life decisions, could get into dangerous situations, or will become ill. One father of three children with disabilities has many worries about his children's futures. The man adopted three disadvantaged children with his wife, who died two years ago. The children are now 18, 14 and 11 years old.